Saturday, 17 October 2015

TRAINING UPDATE: Extreme exhaustion yet running improvements!

(source: Quickmeme)
The last couple of weeks can only be described as exhausting. There has been a sudden drop in temperature, daylight hours have decreased and the sudden need for piping hot soup and Horlicks has returned.

I like to follow a pattern - its merely organisation. When it becomes challenging to follow that pattern, it does slightly irritate me. You will have seen that I love a good training plan (read here) and when it becomes hard to follow this regime, I automatically panic that I will lose everything I have trained for. I always wonder if this is a common concern for runners, or whether it's just me being paranoid..?

It has been mostly weekday training that has been hard to squeeze in. Due to a manic work schedule currently, finding the time (and energy) to squeeze in a run at the end of the day has been tough. Come 8pm, when I am ready to head out, my mind and body lacks the boost to go pound the streets. The pitch black outdoors is also incredibly uninviting. In my mind, I know as soon as I am out running, endorphins will kick in and I will find my running mojo but it is initially getting the foot out of the front door that I am finding hard to do.

So whilst weekday training has been in dribs and drabs, I have made sure I make the most of my weekends to work towards increasing my mileage and I am pleased to say that my goal to reach 13 miles by Christmas is looking very achievable.

I first started to see progress when I ran to Tower Bridge (read about this here) and reached eight miles. I found it tough but stuck to a controlled, steady pace of 8.27 per mile. I was happy with this but wanted to increase my threshold pace. So I followed this with a couple of fartlek sessions and hill runs in a bid to improve strength and speed.

Next up a couple of weeks later was The Mornington Chasers Regents Park 10K. Sticking to my plan to complete two 10Ks by the end of the year, this was the first. I decided to pick this race as it is my clubs own and it offers a slightly challenging, undulating course. I have done this race many times (my PB is 45.45) but my aim for this fixture was to get a sub 50. This event was to test exactly where my race pace was at.

Turns out, my race pace is faster than expected! Seems those speed sessions paid off. At times during the race, I did wonder if I was holding back. I am well aware of how easy it is to overdo it on a 10K. I wanted to remain strong with even splits and that is exactly what I achieved, plus a finish of 46.54! Each mile ranged between 7.22 and 7.42 which I am super pleased with as it shows I am starting to control and own my pace.
Following my 10K high, I decided to up the distance to 10 miles. For this, I ended up being back in my home town and took the opportunity to enjoy a relatively flat route for this. I opted for the towpath, which I thought would be nice and scenic with fresh country air when in fact I found it incredibly dull and continuous. I couldn't wait until I reached five miles as I knew I could turn round and come back! Despite my lack of interest on the route, I again felt good, despite having another awful week of missed training sessions. I completed the run in 1.22.16 which is only four minutes off my PB for this distance!
By seeing this progress, I have really started to enjoy running again. Post triathlon, I really struggled to get back into distance running. I missed my 5Ks and HIIT sessions but these last few weeks, I have reignited my passion for road running.
To finish off this post on an even bigger high, today I woke up and headed out on an eight mile run. I took a similar course to my Tower Bridge route but decided to head west when I reached Southbank towards Big Ben. As I hit eight miles by the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben struck 10am and I was so, SO happy to see that I had ran this distance four minutes quicker than last time and hit an average pace of 7.55.


Lipstick Runner.

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